Tell us about you:
I’m Claire and at the time of writing I am Mum to Jacob who is nearly 4 and ready to go with baby number 2 any day now! My full time job is as Head of Drama is a Secondary School; I’ve worked in education for the last 12 years after a brief stint playing ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ in a touring theatre group, and as a Community Theatre Leader for a local theatre.
Tell us about your business baby:
It’s been almost a year since I officially launched ‘LittleFolk Tales’, an online children’s bookshop. I also hold pop-up shops and storytelling sessions in and around Liverpool. I aim to bring inspiring and imaginative books to parents who want to go beyond the usual offerings when it comes to the children’s books you can get on the high street (although don’t get me wrong, these books are great too!). I’m interested in books that have a great story, whilst also focusing on great illustration and design; books that can really be treasured and loved, and that look great in the home too!
What’s your WHY?
Like a lot of working Mums I guess, after having my little boy I began to consider how sustainable my current job would be around my family, especially given the changes that have taken place in education over the last few years, and the marginalisation of creative subjects such as drama. I remember doing a sort of ‘rediscover yourself’ type activity, which suggested making a list of things I used to love doing when I was younger, and reading came out top of the list. I used to devour books when I was young, and really want to pass that love on to my children, and what better way than to nurture that love from a young age through brilliant picture books. In this digital age, I think it’s important to preserve the pleasure of turning the pages of an actual book, and I think it is a great way for parents to bond with their children and focus on being together and present in the moment as they share a book together.
What do you find the hardest bit of doing the juggle?
Finding time to fit everything in! Working full time is tough for anyone, being a Mum is tough, and running a small business on the side sometimes seems like a really crazy thing to do! But I get such a positive reaction about the books I choose whenever I host a pop up event, and I’ve been fortunate enough to work alongside some other great businesses such as Parentfolk who have been a great supporter of LittleFolk Tales since I started, and I feel like I have become part of a really positive community of independent, family led businesseses.
Who’s your support network?
My family! My husband is always encouraging me to keep going with the business; there are times when I question if I should just give it up and get that time back for myself and my family, but he reminds me that what I’m doing is something I really enjoy. And my parents are always there for the practical help, such as looking after Jacob and bringing him along when I have an event. This has really opened my eyes to how much our working lives impact on our children; Jacob has seen me ‘do my bookshop’ and he loves to make his own bookshop at home, laying out all his books on the sofa or the coffee table and says he wants to be a shop keeper when he grows up!
If only I knew then what I know now…
Well I still don’t know how to organise my accounts and keep track of the ‘business’ side of things so I would definitely like to know that! Otherwise, I think I was a bit naïve about the amount of work that needs to go in to an online store, to encourage traffic and regular sales…but when I hear that little ‘ping’ on my phone that tells me a sale has just come through it really does put a smile on my face!
Inspiration Quote you love
Find out more about LittleFolk Tales here: